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U.S. defense chief orders strategy review in response to budget cuts

Source: Thomson Reuters Foundation - Mon, 18 Mar 2013 18:02 GMT
Author: Reuters
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WASHINGTON, March 18 (Reuters) - Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel has directed senior Pentagon officials to re-examine the U.S. military strategy approved last year to see how priorities may have to be adjusted due to budget cuts that took effect on March 1, U.S. officials said.

The two-month review will define the major strategic choices and international challenges facing the U.S. military in the coming decade and will provide the framework for the 2015 fiscal year defense budget, according to a memo from Hagel obtained by Reuters on Monday.

The review also will provide the foundation for the Pentagon's Quadrennial Defense Review, which is due in February 2014. The congressionally mandated review assesses long-term threats and challenges facing the U.S. military and rebalances U.S. strategies and forces to meet them.

A senior Pentagon official said the review ordered by Hagel was not a "fresh start toward a new strategy," but would flow directly from the strategic guidance approved by President Barack Obama last year, which calls for a shift in emphasis to the Asia-Pacific region.

"The department hopes never to have to work toward the contingencies this review might identify," the official said. If the budget cuts, under a process known as sequestration, are lifted, "those contingencies are likely to go away," the official said.

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